One of our main fears as parents who have teenage drivers is their safety while on the road for the first time. As new drivers, teenagers are more prone to causing collisions due to distractions and a lack of experience. To teach safe driving to your teens, here are 4 conversation starters for you and your child to to reduce the risk of accidents.
1. Avoid Touching Your Cell Phone
One of the most common distractions for teens are on the road is using their cell phone to talk, text, and look up directions as they’re behind the wheel. Distracted driving causes an average of 1.6 million auto accidents each year. Make it a rule that your teen can’t touch their cell phone until they reach their destination or only if they pull over to the side of the road. Instead, they can also take advantage of bluetooth in their vehicle, which can allow them to talk on the phone without taking their eyes off of the road.
2. Become a Defensive Driver
Although teen drivers are taught how to drive well, they often aren’t instructed on defensive driving when other motorists are making mistakes on the road. Teenagers can often have tunnel vision while driving and may not be aware of the car next to them that is suddenly changing lanes. They should be taught how to be aware of their surroundings and to be alert of other drivers who are coming up on the road ahead of them.
Defensive driving also involves anticipating what other drivers may do and keeping a three to four-second distance from the car ahead. Look into the distance and get the bigger picture of hazards or accidents that you may be approaching. Teens should also have an escape route to determine where they can drive if a dog jumps into the road or a tire blowout occurs from another car.
3. Discuss How to Prepare for Accidents
Although there are ways to reduce the risk of an accident, they can often be unavoidable. It’s important to discuss what to do if an accident occurs and how your teen can be prepared. You’ll need to inform them of the information that they need to exchange with other drivers and how photos need to be taken. It’s important to have a plan of who to call and what to do immediately like contacting the auto insurance company to relay the details.
4. Establish Limits
As a new driver, your teen should have rules and limits established to foster safe driving. This includes driving without friends in the car, following a curfew, and only driving certain distances in the city. As they become older the rules can be changed once they’ve established a good driving record – or a high RoadPoints Drive Score!
Before you hand over the keys, be sure to have these important conversations with your teen driver.